CINCINNATI – (AP) — J.P. Macura scored 15 of his 20 points in the first half to get Xavier rolling, and Trevon Bluiett had 21 points as the fifth-ranked Musketeers won their 10th in a row, beating Butler 86-79 on Tuesday night.
The Musketeers (15-1, 3-0 Big East) matched their highest ranking in school history on Monday. A day later, they matched the best start in school history by getting up 14 points and holding on against the team that’s pulled off the biggest upset so far in the conference.
Butler (12-4, 2-1) was coming off 101-93 win over then-No. 1 Villanova on Saturday. The Bulldogs were hoping to take that momentum with them for the 100-mile trip to Xavier. Instead, they couldn’t hit enough outside shots to beat a second straight Top 5 team.
The Bulldogs were only 4 of 14 from beyond the arc in the first half, with Xavier leading 44-36. Kaiser Gates had a pair of free throws and a 3-pointer that pushed the lead to 66-52 midway through the second half.
Kamar Baldwin’s 3-pointer cut it to 79-74 with 1:09 left, but Xavier closed it out at the free-throw line. Baldwin had 28 points, and Kelan Martin added 25.
Butler: The Bulldogs buried Villanova with a flurry of 3s, including a school-record 10 straight. They were only 4 of 14 in the first half against Xavier’s man-to-man and 1-3-1 zone defense and finished 7 of 27 beyond the arc.
Xavier: Bluiett was out of the starting lineup for the last game against DePaul because he showed up late for a shoot-around, and he went only 4 of 13 from the field. He was 6 of 15 on Tuesday, scoring eight points on free throws.
The Bulldogs host No. 21 Seton Hall on Saturday.
The Musketeers are at Providence on Saturday.